What an unrivalled opportunity for the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars to engage with some of the top winemakers in South Africa from many of the illustrious estates in our unique winelands.
Let’s meet this year’s beverage student entrants…
THE HURST CAMPUS
“Hi, I am Chrizaan from Pretoria. My Dad is a surgeon so you can imagine his reaction when I said that I would like to go and study at “Chef School” and not do medicine! The flip side is that my parents love me unconditionally and once they got over the initial shock of my move to Cape Town, have given me nothing but 100% support. They have taught me the importance of striving for excellence and that it is also okay to make mistakes as you learn about life and growing up.
Juffrou McClean, my high school hospitality teacher made me fall in love with this industry. She was always so well poised, groomed, and super sophisticated. It was kind of like, when I grow up, I want to be just like that!
My first introduction to understanding wine was with our wonderful lecturer on this topic at The Hurst Campus. Bertus Fourie is the winemaker at Underoaks and witnessing his passion for this industry popped all the right corks for me! He made me want to learn more about wine: taste it, drink it, and pair it with wonderful food.
I did an internship at both Babylonstoren and Hazendal. These two wonderful establishments refined my love of beautiful food, fresh produce, stylish plating, and creativity. It also gave me the opportunity of seeing what it was like to work on two amazing estates with owners who constantly invest in new ideas and culinary experiences for their guests. It allowed me to understand the inner workings and the art of hospitality and how special it is to pair sophisticated food with wonderful wines and great service. Chef Jeremia and Chef Michelle have been instrumental in teaching me how to cook and work systematically in a professional kitchen.
I so enjoy working with people. I want to see my guests’ eyes light up with joy because I did something good for them; exceeded their expectations, made them forget about their sadness or just simply to make and see them smile.
I enjoy eating all kinds of food like risotto, juicy steaks, cheese and oh let us not forget the chocolate! I also love ballroom dancing and painting, so I guess creativity is in my genes. I am considering going into event management so that I can combine all my skills together with my passion for food, wine, and people.
In my downtime I love reading, researching, and learning wonderful new things on YouTube. However, my best way of learning new things is through people and that is why I have loved my journey at The Hurst Campus. I am super excited to have been chosen to participate in this wonderful competition and intend to train like crazy while enjoying every minute and new networking opportunity.”
Chrizaan Myburgh of The Hurst Campus with Winemaker Louis Strydom at the Ernie Els Wine Estate
MICHAEL DU PLESSIS
IHT HOTEL SCHOOL
“My aim for the future is to one day have a stable job that will also allow me to travel the world where I’ll be able to learn new skills daily and broaden my knowledge on how things are done, and how they can be done in a better way as I am a go-getter and like to challenge myself.
My role model would definitely be my father as he would always lead by example being the Principal of one the best Primary Schools in the Western Cape with over 1 800 students. The way that he was able to go from starting at a small school to one of the biggest schools was amazing to me as he taught me how to adapt to new places and how to handle difficult situations while always making time for our family without being unpleasant on bad days. He is definitely someone that I look up to and hope to be the same as him one day.
The way I am currently broadening my knowledge is by trying new things, such as hosting beddings, working as barmen or just doing some general reading on a certain topic. I am at best a visual learner so how I gain the most knowledge is by physically doing the task and learning hands-on and I’m a quick learner!”
Michael du Plessis of IHT Hotel School with Winemakers Wynand Lategan at Lanzerac Hotel & Spa and Izele van Blerk, The Mentors wines at the KWV Emporium
Michael du Plessis took up his industry placement in Dubai, his spot was snapped up by Lehana Zandberg who presented her cocktails and wines to the encouraging Judges; Luvo Ntezo and Penelope Horwood at the International Hotel School!
IHT HOTEL SCHOOL
“My name is Lehana Zandberg. I am a small-town-girl from Branvlei in the Northern Cape currently studying Hospitality Management at IHT Hotel School in the Northern suburbs of Cape Town. Growing up in a small farming community taught me the value of looking out after each other, always going the extra mile, and always making others feel at home. That was where it all started for me; where my passion for Hospitality was born. I have a big heart for people, their stories, and their needs. I want to give people a home away from home.
My aims for the future is to become the best version of myself in my work and personal life. To create opportunities for myself, and take each chance that comes my way. I want to see and travel the world, and learn more about people and life.
My first and most important role model is definitely my mother, Hanlie Zandberg. She’s such a strong and inspiring woman. She taught me how to see the positive in everything, and to take everything that comes my way and make it an opportunity to learn or to create other opportunities for myself. She also has a passion for people and helping others – I definitely got it from my mama.
My second role model will be Leandie du Randt – she’s an inspiring young women who is all about empowering other young girls and women. What I learnt from her is to be thankful and embrace all the flaws that I may have.
To broadened my knowledge, I will definitely do it through the industry I’m in, because I know it will take me around the country, and even the world. I definitely will embrace each place I’m in and learn as much as I can, and be open to everything. That is me in a nutshell.”
CAPE TOWN HOTEL SCHOOL
(Part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology)
“I am a 2nd Year Hotel Management student completing my Diploma in 2022. I’m a team player, honest and open, and willing to learn new things. I can speak more than four South African languages; English, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, XiTshonga and South Sotho. I love to travel meeting new people and trying traditional food. My diversity led me to other parts of the country in Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Eastern Cape (Home) KwaZulu-Natal and currently studying in the Western Cape Province.
I would like to take every opportunity to build my portfolio as a hotelier. The first five years after completing my diploma my aim is to learn every aspect of hospitality and have the managerial knowledge from front of house to back of house. I would like to work towards obtaining a higher managerial position with my goal of becoming a General Manager.
My role model is my mother, an uneducated single mother raised me with my two siblings from the little she had from doing laundry just to provide a meal for us. The moral of the story is to use the little you have to achieve your end goal. Today, as a university student, I know I can do better and climb to even better heights with the knowledge and resources I have.
My second role model is Mr Joseph Mghobozi former GM at Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve in Mpumalanga and Mayfair Hotel in Mthatha. He taught me to lead from behind and said if your superior is lacking don’t argue with him/her just do it correct then go back to ask if you did it correctly. He’s the one who influenced me to pursue my dream of studying. He said, “I see qualities of a good leader in you, go study!” His motto was don’t procrastinate – Siyenza ngoku (Do it now!)
Although we are faced with the Pandemic where Hospitality is taking a huge knock, we will gain momentum. I will keep applying for any job to align with customer service so that I will be able to handle guests needs because as a hotelier our guest comes first, their satisfaction is our happiness.”
Liyanda Madikane of CPUT with Winemakers Michael Malan and Charl Schoeman at Simonsig Wine Estate with Lize-Marié Gradwell.
CAPE TOWN HOTEL SCHOOL
(Part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology)
“I am Odwa Gongo, a Hospitality Hotel Management Student at the Cape Town Hotel School Restaurant, Cape Peninsula University of Technology. I’m hoping to finish by the year 2023 with my studies. I am talkative and like to engage with different people. I like learning about different beliefs and how other people perceive the world.
I’m an outgoing people’s person and have worked in different industries like construction, cleaning, retail, and hospitality being the one that makes my heart beat faster. My journey began when I was a cleaner at Southern Sun The Cullinan, Tsogo Sun. It was here where I observed hospitality service for the first time. I was impressed by what I saw as it opened a whole new world to me that I was never exposed to before. Observing service from the front office and the restaurant to the welcoming of guests made such an impression on me.
The experience of meeting people from different parts of the world was a real eye opener as I had limited access to the guests in my role as cleaner. The group (Tsogo) built a new establishment (Stay Easy Sun Square City Bowl). I applied to be a waiter and spent a year working there before I made the decision to go to school to grow my career.
The Hospitality industry is a growing industry with a lot of opportunities one can choose from. After finishing my diploma I would like to do an advanced diploma, because my plan is to work my way up in the industry to hold a managerial position at one of the big hotels in the industry.
I am very open to whatever opportunities the future may hold, especially within the industry. I’d love to gain more experience in the Rooms Division Department, Food and Beverage Department and Front Office of course starting from the bottom working my way up.
My brother Thembelani Gongo is my role model. He owns his own company, Zes Construction. He is a people’s person who takes everything easy and always give the best advice in different situations.
I look up to American comedian Steve Harvey. Steve inspires me because he came from a rough background and he is now highly successful. It’s motivating me as it shows me that anyone can do it only if you focus and put your mind to it. The way he handles people and gives them advice, I think he is a hospitable person.
John van Rooyen former Operations Director for Tsogo Sun, Western Cape Region was an inspiration to me. At the time, when I was working for the group, he gave a speech about him being an engineering student, but found his passion in hospitality. I can relate to that because before I entered the industry, I had attempted a few courses and lost interest until I found my passion in hospitality.
To broaden my knowledge I visit a lot of hotels sometimes just for site checking. I go to different restaurants to learn different cuisine and services. I am watching reality cooking shows on BBC Channel learning different cultures on food. I listen to a lot of podcasts that are relevant to the industry.”
Odwa Gongo of CPUT with Winemaker De Wet Viljoen and Assistant Winemaker Mika Engelbrecht at Neethlingshof Wine Estate
CHEFS TRAINING AND INNOVATION ACADEMY
“My aim for the future is to be able to provide a stable and comfortable life for my daughter, one that ensures she has access to the best possible opportunities. In order for me to achieve that I would like to own my own business one day, a patisserie or baking studio so that I’m able to create my footprint in this industry, to constantly learn, create and most of all feed my happiness. This is my passion.
I’ve have been inspired very much by one particular famous chef Adriano Zumbo. What caught my eye and gave me that push to pursue this career choice was when he created a dessert called “Mini V8 vanilla”. Even though it’s a vanilla cake there was so many layers and elements that had to be precise to make this beautiful and elegant dessert. Desserts have to be practiced constantly to achieve perfection. Measurements and techniques have to be done correctly for your dessert to be a success. Adriano is so precise in his techniques that it has made him a great role model for me. He pushes boundaries and creates unusual pastries paving the way for aspiring chefs like myself to create desserts that are out of this world. Zumbo started small by supplying homemade tarts, muffins, brownies and banana bread to local cafes in Sydney. He has grown his empire where he has done television appearances for Masterchef and has a few of his own television series. It is possible with the determination and passion to become great, to become successful.
How I am broadening my knowledge is to constantly educate myself; reading, watching cooking programs or even watching chefs when they are busy. For example I helped a chef at Lourensford called Ghenwa, she owns her own culinary studio and she showed me how to make a Lebanese flatbread called Manakish with Zatar. While she was busy in the kitchen I watched her, helped her and learned more about Lebanese cuisine. It’s important to constantly educate yourself on food and pastry for times are changing but everyone still needs to eat.”
Zoë Stoffels and the CTIA team with Winemaker Hanri Ferreira at the celebrated Stellenbosch wine estate Kleine Zalze, which has been named the Most Successful Producer Overall at the Old Mutual Trophy Wine Show 2020.
CAPSICUM CULINARY STUDIO
“My aim for the future is to open my own restaurant where I will sell coffee as well as food and I want to train and upskill the youth and provide jobs for people. I want to share my knowledge with them, making them see the hospitality industry as the most amazing category that involves everyone sharing skills.
My role model is Gordon Ramsay because wherever he is now it was not an easy journey and I can relate to his past and background, he makes me believe that anything is possible when you put in the hard work.
I am learning about management as well as trying to save money to open my own restaurant, I want to relate to every sector of the business so that I can understand everything about the business that will help me to be able to work with people better.”
Wandile Mpakumpaku of Capsicum Culinary Studio presented the wines from the Cape of Good Hope range from the Anthonij Rupert Wyne Estate.
While appreciating wine, the students were given insight to the virtues of bottled mineral water.
See more… S.Pellegrino & Acqua Panna mineral water. They have written essays on the subject and the winner will be announced at the Awards!
LEO DE SMIDT
INTERNATIONAL HOTEL SCHOOL
Leo de Smidt is a 3rd Year Hospitality Management student at the International Hotel School. During his time at hotel school, Leo has been an active member of the student community via his roles in the Student Representative Council and he is a two time bursary recipient for his employ academic performance. Furthermore, Leo has a deep passion for luxury food & beverage service and career ambitions of becoming a director of food and beverage at a 5 star luxury hotel. Leo is a strong believer that a focus on guest experience accompanied by a strong work ethic and never ending desire to learn and improve are the foundations for success in this sector.
When Leo isn’t at school or at the gym he spends his time working at Nobu Cape Town. It is there that he seeks to be forever learning and constantly improving his knowledge and experience. He hs completed a Wine & Spirit Educational Trust Level 2 Certification in wines and looks forward to completing his Sommelier qualifications in the near future.
Finally, Leo dearly loves South Africa, but looks forward to gaining more knowledge and worldly experience by seeking luxury food and beverage opportunities in the Maldives, the Middle East or the Caribbean.
Leo de Smidt of International Hotel School and Krone Winemaker Stephan de Beer. Krone Vintage-Only Cap Classique is handcrafted in the traditional method on the 300-year-old Twee Jonge Gezellen wine estate in Tulbagh.
Leo de Smidt took up his industry placement in America, Seth Walbrugh stepped up to the plate.
INTERNATIONAL HOTEL SCHOOL
“Hi my name is Seth Alan Walbrugh. I am 18 years old and I am from Cape Town. I have always loved cooking. It has always been something that has interested me and when I turned 12 I knew that this is something that I could see myself doing.
My role model when it comes to cooking is Marco-Pierre White. He was one of the first English chefs to ever reserve a Michelin star. That is just great motivation for me.
Some of my other interests are playing guitar, I am a big music lover and I love being outdoors.”